Although this winter almost certainly won’t be anything compared to the bonanza that next winter is setting up to be, there’s plenty to be excited about right now. The Shohei Otani sweepstakes is, in my opinion, the most fascinating thing to watch in the upcoming offseason. The headline-grabber of the winter, however, will be the Giancarlo Stanton trade rumors, and obviously the Red Sox are going to be right in the middle of them. It just makes too much sense for them not be. They have the capability of carrying a monster contract. They are in desperate need of a power bat in the middle of their lineup. And, most importantly, their reins are held by Dave Dombrowski, a man who is never afraid to make a big splash. It’s essentially the perfect storm. That’s not to say it’s anything close to a guarantee that he ends up in Boston, but it does mean that the Red Sox will be in rumors all winter — even if it’s just the Marlins leaking their name out to increase leverage with other teams. There’s always going to be a possibility of Stanton coming to Boston, and to me, that’s setting up for a terrifying winter.
This is not me saying that I am absolutely, 100 percent against the idea of the Red Sox trading for Stanton. If I were forced to pick a side, I’d certainly lean towards that one and I also easily prefer the idea of signing J.D. Martinez. Still, this is too complex of an issue for me to say that I definitely don’t want one of the best hitters in all of baseball in a Red Sox uniform. Basically, there are reasonable cases to be made to say you are for the idea or against the idea. At this point, I am not nearly ready to make a definitive case one way or the other, and you can’t make me. Instead, I’m just going to be sitting over here anxious as hell, because there is just so much we don’t know about any potential trade and the repercussions. The idea of an entire winter waiting around for this shoe to drop, without any idea of what a trade could look like and what would happen afterwards, terrifies me.
For as great as Stanton is — and the man is clearly great, as he’s likely about to take home the NL MVP and has some of baseball’s most respected franchises chasing after him — it’s extremely rare that a blockbuster like this is so mysterious. First and foremost, I legitimately have no idea what a package for Stanton would look like. Everybody has different opinions, and it’s confusing. On the one hand, for all of the reasons I mentioned above along with him being one of the more recognizable faces in all of baseball, one could certainly argue that he’ll cost a premium package in terms of returning talent. In the Red Sox’ case, maybe that means players like Eduardo Rodriguez, Jackie Bradley, Jason Groome, Michael Chavis and Bryan Mata being on the table (not all together, but some combination of most of them). That’s a lot to give up! But Stanton is great!
On the other hand, Stanton was placed on waivers this past summer and no one bit. His contract is just such a monster, with $285 million guaranteed to him over the next ten years (carrying him through his age-37 season). Then, there’s the fact that he could only be under control for three more years, as he can opt out after his age-30 season. That’s a ton of money and risk to take on, and if the Marlins are really just trying to shed as much of that money as possible, would it really cost that much in terms of talent? I wouldn’t think so! But every rumor thus far suggests otherwise! It’s really confusing and it’s driving me to drink.
It’s not even just the wide range of potential cost that is terrifying, either. The number of different roads this could take after any hypothetical deal was made is scary as well. That opt-out makes things so confusing, because there’s such a huge difference between having his bat in the lineup for ten years versus three. Hell, I’m not even sure which one is better considering how much money is on the end of that contract and how much injury history he has. And that brings up another point that it wouldn’t even be clear how often he’d be playing. Then, there’s how it affects the rest of the roster. Would Stanton be the new DH? Or would he be moving into the outfield, resulting in a move of one of the Killer B’s? If that’s the case, which one is being moved? (Okay, we all know that would almost certainly be Bradley)? And what are they bringing back? Who else, if anyone, is leaving? What is Stanton doing to my Red Sox?!
This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that Boston is involved in this kind of blockbuster trade rumor. It seems to happen just about every year, but this one just seems different. For example, this is much scarier than the Chris Sale rumors from a year ago. Both involved superstars at the heights of their careers, but the Sale rumors were much more straightforward. Everyone knew they’d be getting an ace under a great contract, and everyone knew they’d have to give up a boatload to get him. There were debates about the merits of a potential deal, but everyone more or less knew what the Red Sox would be getting themselves into. In this case, it’s a complete mystery. There is nothing more terrifying than having no idea what is going to happen.